Inside the SEC West: Division opens season 6-0 — no pressure, A&M!
While the first week of the season hasn’t wrapped up yet for the SEC, there’s already a lot to talk about. So far, the West is 6-0. Texas A&M will determine if the division finishes Week 1 undefeated.
Alabama solidified its No. 1 ranking in the polls with a 24-7 victory over No. 3 Florida State, but the Tide weren’t the only impressive team in the West.
As expected, it’s looking like Auburn and LSU will be Alabama’s main competition in the West, but don’t write off Arkansas and Mississippi State.
Here’s the latest news from this past week in the West:
The Tide came away with a victory against Florida State, but that doesn’t mean the win came without a price. Alabama’s pass rush took a massive hit with several key injuries.
Four players who were expected to make up the majority of the rotation at outside linebacker suffered injuries Saturday night. Terrell Lewis (elbow), Anferenee Jennings (sprained ankle), Christian Miller (bicep) and Rashaan Evans (groin) — who also plays inside linebacker — were forced to leave the game against the Seminoles.
As a result, former walk-on Jamey Mosley, the younger brother of former Tide linebacker C.J. Mosley, and true freshman Dylan Moses were forced into full-time duty as the edge rushers.
The status of all four players is still very much up in the air.
While Arkansas did eventually turn it on against Florida A&M, the Razorbacks’ performance could’ve been better.
True freshman Chase Hayden did have a stellar debut, however. The 5-10, 191-pound back rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries — good for 8.6 yards per carry.
The Razorbacks did see starting CB Ryan Pulley leave the Thursday night game early due to a shoulder injury. It was later revealed that the team’s top cornerback from 2016 will miss the rest of the season as a result.
BREAKING: Ryan Pulley announces on Facebook that he's done for the season. Huge loss for the Hogs. pic.twitter.com/mm7GXPVAzt
— Bo Mattingly (@SportsTalkwBo) September 1, 2017
The Tigers were impressive in the season opener against Georgia Southern, holding the Eagles to 78 yards of total offense. That doesn’t mean there weren’t concerns, however.
Prior to the game, it was announced that RB Kamryn Pettway, QB Sean White and WR Kyle Davis would all be suspended for the opener. Sean White is currently serving as Jarrett Stidham’s backup, but Pettway and Davis are both expected to be key contributors this season — especially Pettway, a Heisman Trophy candidate.
The reason for the suspensions is unknown, but according to head coach Gus Malzahn, we should see all three back within the next couple of weeks.
LSU proved that they are SEC West contenders by destroying BYU 27-0.
The Tigers established themselves as the superior cats by holding the Cougars to less than 100 yards of total offense — out-gaining them 479 yards to 97. That’s with the team’s best player, pass rusher Arden Key, out with an injury.
It was also announced prior to kickoff that depth pass rusher Andre Anthony would miss the game with an injury. There has not been any indication from the coaching staff on when either player will be back.
The team received unfortunate news regarding one of the top members of this year’s recruiting class.
Former East Mississippi Community College player Chauncey Rivers is taking an academic redshirt this season. It’s a big blow for the Bulldogs’ pass rush, as Rivers was expected to be one of the team’s top contributors in getting after opposing quarterbacks.
The good news is that the offense looks poised to compete with SEC defenses this season. The Bulldogs ran for 281 yards and passed for 274 in their rout of Charleston Southern.
The final score against South Alabama was 47-27, but the game was never really that close — the Rebels gave us two late touchdowns.
Sophomore WR A.J. Brown broke the school record for most receiving yards in a game with 233.
— Ole Miss Football (@OleMissFB) September 3, 2017
The Aggies will take on the UCLA Bruins tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET on Fox. Stay tuned for related news during and after the game.
Tweet of the week
FSU president John Thrasher thought FSU would beat Bama "pretty bad."
Bama won by 17 points https://t.co/0yE9HvqVu7
— SB Nation CFB (@SBNationCFB) September 3, 2017
Quote of the week
Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham on his SEC debut:
“I didn’t think I played all that well. There’s a lot of things I have to clean up.”